Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Traffic Etiquette

I’m ashamed to say I almost caused a car accident today! I was attempting to change lanes in my minivan and just didn’t see the little compact car next to me. It must have been in my blind spot. Fortunately, the driver saw me coming and honked loudly to get my attention so I could swerve back into my lane. The great thing about that incident was that when he sped up and passed, he and his passenger, a woman, both gave me a very friendly and enthusiastic wave out the windows! It was as if they were saying, "Don’t worry about it. Everything’s okay!" That was such a heart-warmer. Instead of feeling sick about almost causing an accident, it made me feel good that I didn’t have a near case of road rage upon me!

Later in the day, I was coming out of the grocery store, and was waiting to merge into a long line of traffic in front of me that had been stopped at a red light. As the signal turned green, and the traffic started to move, a nice woman halted her car before me and waved me into the line! I was amazed at her generosity since she ran the very real risk of missing the green light as this put her further back in line.

Both these wonderful incidents made me reflect on how many times we aren’t so generous to others in traffic. And, even more worrisome, how often our kids witness us exhibiting lousy "traffic etiquette." How many times have your children seen you give someone "the bird," or swear, or yell at someone for making a stupid move? Is this the kind of example we really want to set for our children? How I would have loved to have shown my children the traffic etiquette I witnessed today instead.

Our children are going to become the kind of drivers – and, more importantly, the kind of citizens – that we model for them. Isn’t it about time that we cleaned up our traffic manners?

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